With the Olympic Road Race crossing the bridge on the way out to Box Hill, and again on the way back to Central London, as well as the Olympic Time Trials, there’s a chance to talk to Richmond Council about how thousands of ordinary cyclists use the bridge every day.
The 2009 TfL report Trends in Cycling Levels in London lists the number of cycles crossing the bridge per day rising by 280% between 1998 and 2008, from 550 to 2088.
Currently the only provison for cyclists is the shared use pavement on the up-river side, part of National Cycle Network 4, the Thames Valley Cycle Route, as it crosses from one side of the river to the other.
This is a great route but runs east-west when during the working week most cyclists are commuting north-south.
So, those who prefer not to join 5,138 vehicles recently counted driving north between 7am and 10am, are making pragmatic decisions about their route. Using the down-river side pavement, the logical extension of the shared use path beside Hampton Court Way, they negotiate the largely deserted space at the front of Hampton Court railway station and through the bus stop on to, and over, the bridge.
On the other side there is a wide, well-surfaced path beside the Palace providing a safe alternative to Hampton Court Road.
At least until round the corner when the pavement narrows towards the entrance to Bushey Park.
RCC believes there is a credible route here while recognising all the difficulties at the location. The bridge is a hub for many cycle jorneys and we hope LBRuT will agree it deserves thoughtful work to be done in the next financial year.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you use this route and have something to say about it.